September 07, 2007

Mahoromatic: Adorable eating chick

Author has started watching Mahoromatic. After one and a half episodes, he says, "The adorable eating chick was the only character that I liked."

The girl to which he refers is Oe Chizuko, known to her friends as "Chizu". She's the namesake for this site. In its original incarnation, the top rotation was about 18 images of her.

Chizu's reaction to Mahoro's cooking was a running gag in the series which I never got tired of.

UPDATE: Just wanted to make sure that Author was aware that Mahoromatic and Neon Genesis Evangelion are the two series which are responsible for the creation of the term "Gainax Ending".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 09:33 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 111 words, total size 1 kb.

Chainmail Bikini

Shamus's amazing comic "DM of the Rings" has drawn to a close. An NPC won the campaign, far off in the distance. Of course, if Dave hadn't quit in disgust, that would have been his character doing it, but so it goes.

Shamus now has a new venture: Chainmail Bikini. It features a black tower covered with viscous spikes. How a spike can be viscous is left as an exercise for the imagination of the reader. Maybe they're made of motor oil. Or gelatine.("Vicious" maybe?)

"Chainmail Bikini" promises to be good.

UPDATE: Ahhh... that's no good. They changed it! (Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut fingers still.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 01:29 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 111 words, total size 1 kb.

September 01, 2007

Mazinger: Stupid?

Ken, the Brickmuppet, thinks I've jumped the shark. He shows us a photo of Mazinger (I think it is) walking down a city street, and asks me if I would be willing to call it stupid to its face. (Or to its toe, as the case may be.)

I'll tell you what: if I ever meet Mazinger, I will apologize.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 08:24 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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August 26, 2007

HIJMS Mikasa

Ken the Brickmuppet is back from his adventure in Japan and has started posting pictures. Today he posts pictures of His Imperial Japanese Majesty's Ship Mikasa, which was the Japanese flagship at the battle of Tsushima strait.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 12:01 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 39 words, total size 1 kb.

August 15, 2007

Welcome to Singapore

...the richest police state on the planet. Singapore is a nice place, but the people there don't have the kind of liberty that we Americans take for granted.

And it would seem they don't have quite the ability to break the law that we have, either. Seems that a company (?) called Odex is cracking down hard on people there who download fansubs.

The MPAA and RIAA would love to do the same thing here, if they could manage it. In fact, they've done a bit of that already. But there are sixty five times as many of us as there are Singaporeans. And all our accesses to the world don't funnel through a single government-controlled firewall.

Not to mention the Bill of Rights. So pbltltblblbt MPAA! Stick it where the sun don't shine!

Our man in Singapore also makes the following comment:

The out-of-this-worldly popular anime series, Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, has spawned lots of merchandise and figures. But only one figure manufacturer has stood head and shoulders above the competition in bringing us quality releases of the Haruhi cast – Max Factory! Hot on the heels of their Mikuru and Haruhi comes their rendition of NagatoYuki, arguably the most popular character of the series.

cough cough... Ahem. TJ likes to live dangerously, doesn't he?

Well, we'll forgive him for his sacrilege because his pictures of the new Yuki figure are so nice.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 11:32 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Choke, cough...

(Brickmuppet's adventures in Akibahara with Bob.)

UPDATE: Actually, Bob should have been shopping for Floofy.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 08:59 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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August 05, 2007

Lonelygirl15 RIP

The first season of "Lonelygirl15" has wrapped, and they killed off their primary character. Ye Gods. But never fear; they've left themselves a hook for another season. It just won't star gorgeous NZ expat Jessica Lee Rose.

I should have posted this under the "Shows I'll never watch" category, you know that? But apparently it's been quite popular, and it certainly was an interesting concept, and pretty original, for all the "Blair Witch" aspects of how they ended it.

I do think it's pretty cool that it's ended up being something of a spring board for her career. She's got a semi-regular gig now on a TV series called "Greek", and if she has any talent, then with her looks she can probably do starlet roles for the next five years or so. And then find someone rich to marry. (Gad, I'm getting cynical.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 01:36 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 146 words, total size 1 kb.

August 04, 2007


Dork Tower has three successive strips about spoilers and the most recent Harry Potter book. The comics themselves don't contain any spoilers, so fear not to read them. (I particularly like the third one.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 05:16 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 35 words, total size 1 kb.

August 03, 2007

Pixy Salmomisa

Looks like Pixy is getting over his attack of food poisoning. That's good news. And he has a sense of humor about it now, and that's even better news.

I've been there, and it ain't a lot of fun. One form, which I got twice in Massachusetts and almost certainly was salmonella, made me throw up until my stomach was empty, and then have horrible diarrhea until everything else was gone. Essentially, my digestive system decided to reboot. Then two days of feeling utterly miserable, and after that I was ravenously hungry.

Salmonella is all through the food preperation system at this point and it can't be eradicated. But in New England it's particularly prevalent in the poultry industry. 20 years ago estimates were that about one third of chickens were infected with it.

Pixy suspects a bottle of BBQ sauce that went bad, but he's taking no chances and dumped the entire contents of his refrigerator. Under the circumstances that's only prudent.

So welcome back to the world of health and humor, Pixy! We missed you.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 10:33 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 179 words, total size 1 kb.

August 02, 2007

Links 2: A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Author talks about the way that black bars appear on the sides (and sometimes top and bottom) of frame grabs. Linux geek that he is, he shows us the command line pipe he uses to strip them away.

Me, I do it using scripts for Paint Shop Pro. Creating a script for PSP8 is really simple; you tell it "record", then do it once yourself, then store the script. Then you can batch process as many images using that script as you want.

Usually I use three steps. The first step is "JPEG artifact removal". MPEG artifacts are similar to JPEG artifacts, so it works well for this. There are four strengths to choose among, so I take one typical image and just look at it magnified to see how it looks at each of the step levels. Ideally you want to use as little as you can, because at high strengths it does uncrispen lines and things like that.

Second step is a resize. I always take raw captures (720*480), and depending on the source material aspect ratio it gets resized to either 720*405 (16:9) or 640*480 (4:3).

And the third step is removal of the black bars. For that I use the "canvas size" function. For most shows I take four pixels off the left and right sides, but sometimes it's more complicated than that.

And the resulting script look like this:

from JascApp import *

def ScriptProperties():
    return {
        'Author': u'',
        'Copyright': u'',
        'Description': u'',
        'Host': u'Paint Shop Pro',
        'Host Version': u'8.10'

def Do(Environment):
    # EnableOptimizedScriptUndo
    App.Do( Environment, 'EnableOptimizedScriptUndo', {

    # JPEG Artifact Removal
    App.Do( Environment, 'JPEGArtifactRemoval', {
            'RestoreCrispness': 0,
            'Strength': App.Constants.JPEGStrength.Low,
            'GeneralSettings': {
                'ExecutionMode': App.Constants.ExecutionMode.Default,
                'RandomSeed': 71909484,
                'AutoActionMode': App.Constants.AutoActionMode.Match

    # Resize
    App.Do( Environment, 'Resize', {
            'AspectRatio': 1.5,
            'CurrentDimensionUnits': App.Constants.UnitsOfMeasure.Pixels,
            'CurrentResolutionUnits': App.Constants.ResolutionUnits.PixelsPerIn,
            'Height': 405,
            'MaintainAspectRatio': App.Constants.Boolean.false,
            'Resample': App.Constants.Boolean.true,
            'ResampleType': App.Constants.ResampleType.SmartSize,
            'ResizeAllLayers': App.Constants.Boolean.true,
            'Resolution': 2.5,
            'Width': 720,
            'GeneralSettings': {
                'ExecutionMode': App.Constants.ExecutionMode.Default,
                'AutoActionMode': App.Constants.AutoActionMode.Match

    # ResizeCanvas
    App.Do( Environment, 'ResizeCanvas', {
            'AspectRatio': 1.32636,
            'FillColor': (255,255,255),
            'HoriPlace': App.Constants.HorizontalType.Center,
            'MaintainAspect': App.Constants.Boolean.false,
            'NewDimUnits': App.Constants.UnitsOfMeasure.Pixels,
            'NewHeight': 405,
            'NewWidth': 712,
            'PlaceBottom': 0,
            'PlaceLeft': -4,
            'PlaceRight': -4,
            'PlaceTop': 0,
            'VertPlace': App.Constants.VerticalType.Center,
            'GeneralSettings': {
                'ExecutionMode': App.Constants.ExecutionMode.Default,
                'AutoActionMode': App.Constants.AutoActionMode.Match


Fortunately, I neither need to type that nor to read it ordinarily. That's how PSP8 talks to itself.

---The Atomic Fungus has watched a couple of episodes of Ikki Tousen: Dragon Destiny and is bewildered.

Ikkotousen Dragon Destiny--what is this? To say that I don't understand what the hell is going on in this series would not be overstating the issue. After two episodes I like to at least have an idea what is happening, and although I understand that the high schools in this series all have armies of "fighters" that fight to the death, I don't understand why this is so or what the point of it is. The story starts approximately in the middle of the beginning, with almost no exposition; that technique enables a "fast start" for the action, but you don't get much of an explanation of why, or even what. And it's uneven.

What is IT:DD? It's an excuse for fan service about bodacious babes who fight like crazed wolverines and who get their costumes shredded in said fights without suffering the slightest abrasion to their skin. If you're looking for anything deeper than that, you're watching the wrong series.

There is a story. It's a stupid one, but it's there. The reason it seems like you've been dropped into the middle of the story is that you have been. IT:DD is a sequel to the original IkkiTousen, which was produced by a different studio.

But it isn't really worth going into what the story is about, because the series is about watching Kan'u Unchou losing her clothes at every opportunity.

...moving right along...

---The owner of the FunBlog (doesn't anyone besides me have a real name anymore?) takes his best shot at trying to explain the fuzetsu from Shakugan no Shana. But his explanation, although clever, still doesn't deal with edge effects.

The fundamental question is where time freezes. As presented in the series, time inside the fuzetsu freezes but not outside, which is why those with power who are outside can detect that it's happening and enter the fuzetsu. But what if someone who doesn't have the power -- and doesn't know the fuzetsu is there -- tries to enter it? Presumably they freeze just inside the perimeter. Except that doesn't work.

If a fuzetsu covers part of a freeway, what happens to a car which enters the zone of the fuzetsu? And to the car just behind it, and the 500 behind that one? Big traffic pileup?

One fuzetsu in the series lasts for something like 14 hours. A freeway can pump a lot of traffic into the perimeter in 14 hours.

---Don has a real name! And he's found the perfect plushie to go next to the Cthulhu plushie that all the cool kids have on their shelves.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 11:48 PM | Comments (14) | Add Comment
Post contains 839 words, total size 11 kb.

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